New research has found that major retailers “may break data protection rules” for sending promotional marketing to shoppers who had asked for no promotional emails.
The research by Which?, saw mystery shoppers sent to 11 retailers: Topshop, Clarks, Gap, New Look, Dorothy Perkins, Arcadia Group (Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Burton), Schuh, Mothercare, Halfords, Currys PC World and Nike.
Which? sent three shoppers to each store and they all asked for an e-receipt with no marketing emails. Of the stores visited, Mothercare, Schuh, Halfords and Gap, issued e-receipts which contained the promotional marketing Which?’s shoppers had asked not to receive.
The consumer advice company said the marketing featured on the emails indicated “that the retailers may be breaking data protection rules”. Rules around marketing emails were tightened in May with the introduction of GDPR. Now retailers must not send direct marketing to new customers unless the customer has consented to receive it.
The group said said one shop sent a marketing email with the e-receipt attached, while the others included prompts to sign up for newsletters or invitations to complete surveys for money off a future purchase.
In response to the research Halfords said “our e-receipts do not contain any active promotion of products or services”, and added its receipts fully conformed to the UK’s data protection law and GDPR regulations. Gap told Which?: “Following your feedback, we have now updated the communications you highlighted.”
Mothercare responded by saying: “We take the privacy rights of our customers very seriously and we are confident our e-receipts comply with data protection laws. We look forward to receiving Which’s findings so we can investigate fully.”